azure cloud migration

This blog suggests a 3-step guide to migrate to the cloud and modernise your apps with Azure. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to migrate in an iterative fashion – a few workloads at a time, rather than a big bang approach to migrating all at once.  

“Why are we migrating to the cloud? Has it become financially unviable to manage multiple data centres? This was the question from the CEO of a large, global automotive components company.  

The CIO of the company responded in her inimitable style: “It’s not that it has become unviable or unmanageable. We want to modernise our apps so we can move faster with greater agility and efficiency. We want to be able to make our systems more mobile-ready and analytics friendly. With our legacy business applications, it is becoming a challenge to upgrade at a fast pace.”  

The conversation played out with the CIO getting into the finer details of why it is critical to migrate to the cloud and modernise. She put together a detailed document with a 3-step approach to make the move: Strategise and Plan; Implementation; Operations and Maintenance.  

Step 1: Plan Your Cloud Migration Effort 

Start with why you need to migrate. What are the business requirements that are forcing you to shift? For the CIO of the auto components company, the key drivers to making the shift to the cloud revolved around agility, efficiency, and scalability. The business demanded greater access to data, in addition to more automation and digital transformation.  

The business users at the company wanted to make more data-driven decisions, and for that, it was critical that the entire workflow across the organization’s internal processes, supplier operations, customer service and ops, quality management, production & manufacturing had to be digitally transformed.  

The need of the house was a highly unified and integrated system covering ERP, CRM, Quality Management System (QMS), and Supplier Management dashboards. And, this level of digital transformation and data visibility was easier with a cloud-based platform.  

Once the business drivers were established, the CIO worked with various stakeholders to draft a migration plan with timelines. It covered the following aspects: 

  • Set of business requirements and motivations to migrate  
  • Key applications that had to be migrated in phase 1 
  • Decisions around which systems will not be migrated  
  • Criteria for choosing the right cloud solutioning partner  
  • Migration roadmap  
  • Business continuity planning  
  • Budgets and financial buy-in from key stakeholders  

Step 2: Implementing your cloud migration and modernisation strategy  

The most important aspect of the implementation phase revolves around people and talent. It is crucial to have a trusted cloud migration partner, in addition to an internal IT team that has a strong hold on both technical and business aspects of the move.  

When it comes to migrating to Azure, it is important to have a team that specialises in Microsoft Azure and has the necessary skills and knowledge in Microsoft technologies. It’s a good idea to migrate one workload at a time, with an iterative approach.  

It is also important to understand the finer nuances of the migration process, versus the modernisation process. Sometimes, the ideal approach is to “lift-and-shift” an application to the cloud, make it stable and then begin the process of adding features and capabilities. Once the app is hosted on the cloud and both compute and storage processes are set, you may want to refactor and/or rearchitect your application as needed.  

A Merit expert on Azure and cloud migration says, “Azure offers guidelines and a set of best practices to optimise apps for the cloud. It is critical to pay attention to app performance, security, and stability of the application’s architecture and future readiness as the migration process progresses. Needless to say, a robust testing process, enabled by test automation tools, is paramount as well.”  

Step 3: Cloud Operations and Governance  

Cloud operations and governance are two of the most important aspects of migrating workloads to the cloud. Solutions like Azure Arc. Monitor must be used to capture real-time insights into performance of your applications on the cloud. Additionally, you need the right Azure experts who can guide you through the process to turning on-and-off the right set of features to make overall cloud operations and governance more efficient. 

There is also the factor of cloud costs and IT leaders must proactively monitor the cost of cloud operations, both in terms of tools being used as well as resources being utilised.  

The following Azure tools come in handy to streamline overall cloud operations: 

  • For security and management: Azure Security Centre, Azure Sentinel, Azure Arc, Azure Monitor, Azure Backup 
  • For governance: A best practices guide from Azure, Azure Blueprint – for quick, efficient and repeatable creation of governed environments 
  • For budget management: Use Azure TCO calculator and other tools to optimise and save on costs  

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Migration and Modernisation to Azure 

Merit works with a broad range of clients and industry sectors, designing and building bespoke applications and data platforms combining software engineering, AI/ML, and data analytics. 

We migrate legacy systems with re-architecture and by refactoring them to contemporary technologies on modern cloud ecosystems including Azure. Our software engineers build resilient and scalable solutions with cloud services ranging from simple internal software systems to large-scale enterprise applications. 

We can also help your enterprise migrate to Azure, including offering support resources, specialised talent, and the right strategic and implementation expertise.  

To know more, visit: 

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